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Trebisacce: The Hidden Treasure of Calabria

Thursday 03 august 2023

Discover Trebisacce, the hidden jewel of Calabria. Immerse yourself in its history, culture and natural beauty with our complete travel guide. Don't miss the opportunity to explore this unique destination!

Trebisacce: The Hidden Treasure of Calabria

Trebisacce, located in the region of Calabria, is a picturesque town that is steadily growing in tourism. Its breathtaking landscape, rich history and delicious Calabrian cuisine make it an absolute must-see destination. In this guide, we take you on a discovery of Trebisacce and offer all the advice you need to make your trip unforgettable.

Photo by Maurizio Guarino

History of Trebisacce

The origins of Trebisacce

During the Byzantine period, the foundations were laid for settlement in the Trebisacce area. At that time, the control of the Byzantine Empire provided security and stability to the region of Calabria, allowing the development of small settlements. Trebisacce's privileged location between the hills and the sea provided an ideal environment for prosperity in both fishing and agriculture. The foundation of Trebisacce, understood as a small urban agglomeration, should date back, presumably, to around the 9th-10th centuries.

Over the centuries, the Trebisacce area was influenced by cultures as diverse as the Arabs, the Normans, and the Aragonese. The Arabs, who arrived in the 8th century, brought with them new agricultural and commercial techniques that contributed to more sustainable economic development. The Normans arrived in Calabria in the 11th century, and under their rule there was a period of stability and consolidation of local power. At the same time, their presence led to the construction of castles and forts to protect the territories and defend against external attacks. Finally, the Aragonese lent their support to the security and development policies of the area around the 15th century.

The name "Trebisacce" most likely derives from the Greek "Trapezakion," meaning small board set above a rise and tracing the orographic characteristics of the ancient village.

Signs of the past

The 16th-century town wall was built to protect the town from Turkish raids. Originally, four gates - according to tradition - safeguarded the ancient village. The city walls, erected in 1538, played a crucial role in the coastal defense system. The Bastion is often referred to as the "balcony on the Ionian Sea" due to its panoramic position, which allows a view of the gulf, the Ionian Sea and the plains of Sybaris and Metaponto, and the mountains of the Greek Sila.

The natural beauty of Trebisacce

The wonderful beaches

Trebisacce's coastline is characterized by long, spacious sandy beaches that stretch for miles along the shoreline of the Ionian Sea. The crystal clear sea has shades of colors ranging from turquoise to deep blue, and the calm, clean waters make this an ideal place for families, couples and groups of friends seeking relaxation and fun under the Calabrian sun. Numerous bathing establishments alternate along the coast, offering sunbeds, umbrellas and food services to ensure a pleasant and comfortable experience for visitors. For those who prefer a more authentic experience in contact with nature, Trebisacce also offers several free beach areas where you can lay out your towel and enjoy the sea in all its beauty.

The coast of Trebisacce also offers several opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. Swimming is of course the most popular activity, thanks to the mild temperature of the water and the presence of shallow areas ideal for even the youngest children. Snorkeling is an excellent choice for those who wish to explore the seabed and admire marine life.

Trebisacce, also boasts an enchanting coastline with sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, a variety of bathing establishments and free areas for all tastes, and numerous opportunities for water sports enthusiasts.

Photo by Leonardo Massaro

The Calabrian hinterland

The hills surrounding Trebisacce offer a fascinating alternative to the beaches of the coast. This area is rich in scenic trails and paths that wind through forests, olive groves, and vineyards, providing spectacular views of the landscape and the sea. Hiking and biking enthusiasts can immerse themselves in nature and discover ancient villages and archaeological sites scattered along the hills. The hinterland of Trebisacce is ideal for experiencing an authentic experience of Calabria and appreciating its natural beauty.

A short distance from Trebisacce is the "Fiume Crati" Oriented Nature Reserve, a protected area that stretches along the course of the Crati River and its banks. This reserve offers an important opportunity to observe local flora and fauna in an unspoiled environment. Species in the Reserve include the peregrine falcon, wild turtle dove, mallard, and several species of songbirds. A visit to the Reserve can be enriched by guided tours and educational activities designed to raise awareness and appreciation of Calabria's natural heritage.

Trebisacce's local agriculture is characterized by the presence of olive groves and vineyards, which cover large areas of the surrounding hills. The olive trees, from the pressing of which the fine extra virgin olive oil is obtained, have been cultivated for centuries following traditional and sustainable methods. Visiting farms and oil mills in the area allows visitors to discover the authentic traditions and flavors that make Trebisacce's agriculture a fundamental element of its cultural and landscape identity.

Broglio Archaeological Park in Trebisacce photo by Officine delle Idee

Cultural richness

Sites and Monuments of Interest

Trebisacce is home to the Ludovico Noia Museum of Oil Art and Peasant Culture, inside which an oil mill and ancient artifacts are preserved that tell of the history, culture and traditions of Trebisacce and its territory.

On a spur-like rise jutting out over the Sibari Plain, in the locality of Broglio di Trebisacce, is an important protohistoric settlement. The interest of this site in studies consists in being the first in Calabria to reveal evidence of the Bronze Age, hitherto unknown, and traces of Mycenaean presence. The first occupation of the settlement dates back to the Middle Bronze Age (1700- 1350 B.C.), and allows an encounter with the Oenotrian people.

The morphology is articulated in several terraces and isolated heights; the particular position of the settlement ensured a control of the coast and the surrounding territory. Ceramic vessels, bowls, cups, axes and hunting weapons have been unearthed. A forge for ironworking was also found. Since 2015, the Broglio Archaeological Park (PAB) has been opened, offering its users various testimonies and reconstructions. Research over the years has been crucial to the reconstruction of the typical hut-dwelling, and to learn about the characteristics and organization of the settlement.

What to do and see in Trebisacce

Outdoor activities

In and around Trebisacce, you can experience a wide range of outdoor activities, including numerous hiking and biking trails. Here are some of the most interesting trails in the area:

Trail through olive groves and vineyards: explore the rural landscapes of Trebisacce by traversing the hills characterized by olive groves and vineyards.

Coastal Route: travel along the coast of Trebisacce by bicycle or on foot, enjoy the panoramic view of the sea, and discover the various beaches and crystal clear waters awarded the Blue Flag.

Finally, Trebisacce offers other sports activities to enjoy during your stay. Beach volleyball is a fun option to experience on the sand, with the possibility of joining friendly matches or tournaments organized by the beach establishments.

Traditional Events and Festivals

In Trebisacce, as well as throughout Calabria, religious and popular traditions are very important and are manifested through various celebrations and events throughout the year.

One of the most heartfelt religious celebrations is the Feast of San Rocco, co-patron saint of Trebisacce, held on August 16, with events taking place throughout the day. The celebration begins with morning masses and a procession through the streets of the old town. In the afternoon, the procession winds its way from the rampart to the seafront, and the statue of the saint is carried on a boat accompanied by music, singing and prayers in a folkloric and evocative carousel. The celebration continues with games, shows, live music and fireworks, creating an enthralling atmosphere for residents and visitors.

Another major religious event is the Procession of St. Joseph, which is celebrated on March 19. During this event, it is traditional to hold a picnic on the scenic hill that houses the chapel. A short but heartfelt procession takes place in the afternoon.

Finally, numerous events related to folklore and local traditions take place throughout the year, including dance performances and traditional songs. These events are an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in local culture and discover the historical and cultural roots of Trebisacce and Calabria. In addition to this, there are various events such as Blue Night, White Night, The historic "Festa del Mare" and Treby Music festival that attract many tourists every year.

Feast of St. Roch Photo by Middonno Francesco

Useful tips for your stay

What to eat

Trebisacce's cuisine is based on the freshness of locally grown fish and vegetables. From sea urchins to cuttlefish and from swordfish to sea bream, the wide range of seafood on offer allows for experimentation with the wide variety of traditional and creative recipes. Vegetables, such as eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, are used in a multitude of sauces, side dishes and appetizers, enriching the palate and offering a memorable dining experience.

To discover local culinary delights, there are several typical restaurants and wine bars in and around Trebisacce.

We recommend Restaurant da Lucrezia, which, with the Mastery of Chef Giuseppe, will immerse you in the true flavors of Calabrian cuisine.

Where to Stay

In Trebisacce you will find several accommodation options to meet every need:

  • Hotels: The various hotels in the city offer comfortable rooms and quality services, such as the "Miramare Palace Hotel
  • Bed and Breakfast: for a more intimate and family-friendly experience, choose one of the many B&Bs in the area, such as "B&B Trapezakion"

To choose the accommodation that best suits your needs, consider factors such as proximity to attractions you wish to visit, budget, and preferences for services and amenities.

Photo by Leonardo Massaro

How to get to Trebisacce

By Car

To reach Trebisacce by car, you can use the main highways and state roads. From the north, you can take the A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria Highway, exit at Firmo-Sibari, and continue on State Road 534 to Trebisacce. From the south, you can travel north on the A3 Highway, exit at Rosarno, and then take State Road 682 to Trebisacce.

If you do not have your own car, you can rent one at major cities and airports in Calabria. Rental agencies such as Hertz, Europcar and Avis offer a wide range of vehicles and rates, allowing you to choose the car that best suits your needs.

By Train

Trebisacce train station is located on the Taranto-Reggio Calabria railway line, which connects the city with other places in Calabria and Puglia. Regional trains operated by Trenitalia make it possible to reach Trebisacce from cities such as Cosenza, Crotone and Taranto. It is recommended that you check train schedules and prices on Trenitalia's or other rail companies' websites before planning your trip.

By Air

The closest airports to Trebisacce are Lamezia Terme International Airport (SUF) and Crotone Airport (CRV). Lamezia Terme is well connected with domestic and international flights, while Crotone offers mainly domestic flights.

To reach Trebisacce from the airports, you can use rail, bus, or car rental connections. From Lamezia Terme airport, you can take a train or bus to Cosenza, and then a regional train to Trebisacce. From Crotone airport, you can take a bus or cab to the Crotone train station and continue with a direct train to Trebisacce. Alternatively, one can rent a car at the airport and drive to Trebisacce, enjoying more flexibility in travel.

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